How many endeavors, aspirations or plans have you talked yourself out of?
It seems like every morning I'm inspired with some new creative idea to pursue but somewhere between finishing my coffee and shaving I give up without ever getting started. I can talk myself out of any worthwhile creative urge ranging from rearranging the furniture, painting the living room a new color, drawing a new cartoon, and even writing this article.
It's as if, as soon as I begin to feel excited about something new I would like to do the reasons why I shouldn't, start popping out of no where. They're like mosquitoes; relentless. Only far deadlier to my creative well-being than mosquitoes these doubts and excuses take a piece of enthusiasm with each bite. If I don't do something immediately they begin to swarm and before you know it I'm overcome and give up. What's fascinating is that most of these reasons "why not" seem quite reasonable, like they are out to protect me from harm some how.
Here are a just a few examples of what I'm talking about, "That's a silly idea." "It'll cost too much." "You don't have time to do something like that." "No one will take you seriously, you're too young." "No one will take you seriously, you're too old." "That's arrogant." "What are you trying to prove?" "Don't you have better things to do with your time?" "What about the lawn, the garden, doesn't the car need an oil change?" "You'll look ridiculous." "It'll take too long." "You can't do something like that by yourself." "No one will want to help you." "No one has time to help you." "Why bother?" "No one cares." "Don't you have enough going on?" "When are you going to have the time?" "Everything is fine the way it is, why change it?" I can go on ad nauseum.
Are these thoughts really looking out for our best interest? I think it's just my fear of the unknown getting the best of me. I am convinced that they are just old beliefs born out of fear trying to protect me from embarrassment. That's it. "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't" is not always the best advice. Matter of fact "better safe than sorry" tends to leave me more sorry than safe when I use it to hold me back from taking a step out of my comfort zone and into the realm of the creative discovery. Whenever I put off a creative nudge by justifying it with any one of the good reasons I've listed above I feel half alive. Like I am just here plodding along in a fog colored suit merely existing. And since avoidance is a full time job, I must keep justifying why it was a good idea to not pursue that inspired idea, whatever it may have been.
So how do I avoid talking myself out of attempting some new creative pursuit? I try to remember to treat these doubts and excuses (that come to me disguised as mature and reasonable thoughts) like unruly children clamoring for my attention. Instead of arguing with them I simply acknowledge each one as it arises and cast if off with this statement; "Thank you for bringing that to my attention, don't worry God will help us with that." And off it goes, skipping into the ethers. Meanwhile my enthusiasm remains intact and with it the momentum I need to continue on with that small but crucial first step. Before I know it I am further along than I expected and soon reminded that I am capable of far more than I think!